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Illegal Mexican pleads guilty to drug felonies

  Immigration  -   POSTED: 2007/06/05 12:48

An illegal immigrant from Mexico, Monday, became the second of five men indicted for running a drug ring in Greene and Clark counties to plead guilty to felony charges in Greene County Common Pleas Court. Manuel Barajas Alvarado, 31, agreed to a 12-year prison sentence as part of his guilty plea to all eight charges in his November indictment, including engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, conspiracy, trafficking in cocaine, and possession of cocaine and criminal tools.

Alvarado, who was in the United States illegally at the time of his arrest, also agreed to major drug offender and firearms specifications, said Greene County First Assistant Prosecutor Andrew Hunt.

Jorge Palacios Gamez, 23, pleaded guilty in May to six felonies, including engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, conspiracy, trafficking in cocaine possession of cocaine and criminal tools. Gamez agreed to a seven-year sentence, but was not classified a major drug offender.

Greene and Clark county prosecutors won Greene County grand jury indictments against Alvarado and Gamez as co-conspirators in a drug gang with ties to Mexico and Chicago that supplied street level dealers with cocaine, crack cocaine and marijuana, prosecutors said.

Isai David Navarro-Rivas, 29; Jose Morales Cruz, 20; and Rigoberto Gallegos Medina, 32, were also indicted after the joint investigation, and their cases are pending, prosecutors said.

Hunt said Alvarado was originally arrested and released after police served a search warrant at his Medway home and found him with a money counter and shrink wrap, tools often used by illegal cash businesses.

Police later served another search warrant at the same location and arrested Alvarado in the act of burying one half-kilogram of cocaine in his backyard, Hunt said.

Law enforcement seized from the five men $358,000 in cash, 16 kilograms of cocaine, 18 grams of crack cocaine, 12 kilograms of marijuana, 10 firearms, 10 vehicles and various items typically used in drug trafficking, prosecutors said.

The investigation was conducted by the two prosecutor's offices, the Greene County Agencies for Combined Enforcement Task Force, the Clark County Sheriff's Office, and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.

All charges against the men are being prosecuted in Greene County, with the assistance of Clark County prosecutors.


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